Chargers Baseball Champs
Comprised of team members from South East Valley baseball and Lehi baseball, the first year Chargers team, coached by Randy McKim and Brandon Rodak, recently won the Fall Extravaganza Tournament in Mesquite, Nevada. The Fall Extravaganza Tournament is one of the biggest fall baseball tournaments in the Western US, and for the past three years has dedicated itself to helping breast cancer patients, with all proceeds going to help women who can’t afford mammograms.
The road was rocky to what McKim calls “a huge team win.” After losing the first game of the tournament, the team went on to win the next two and McKim says the coaches could see that hard work and months of practice were really showing. They decided then that they “would not only play hard, but have fun doing it [which] isn’t always easy when coaching 11-12 year olds.”
The fourth game started off bad, with seven errors in the first three innings and down eight runs to the Utah Crushers. Plus, the team had lost their starting catcher, JJ Woozley, to an injury. The boys put up four runs in the bottom of the third and another in the fourth to make it 5-8. Keeping their heads up and cheering one another on, the boys rallied with four runs in the last inning to win the game. Then, with that momentum, they won their fifth game and got into the Championship.
The Championship Game was a rematch against the Nevada Road Dogs. Coach McKim remembers, “We once again found ourselves down 0-1 after the first inning. We countered with two in the bottom of the first. We had two big hits in the game that really opened things up. JJ Woozley had a two-run triple in the third, and Ryan Kucherak had another two-run triple in the fifth. Our pitching was phenomenal. Dawson Rodak kept it close going into the third inning and was relieved by Hunter Cathey. Hunter pitched five scoreless innings only giving up one hit and one walk. Our team really rallied behind him. I went out to the mound in the seventh and final inning and asked Hunter how he was feeling. He looked at me and said, ‘I have this coach, I’m going to shut these guys down.’ And that’s exactly what we did to win the Championship game 6-2. These kids overcame huge odds. They had to win five straight games, overcome injuries and fatigue, overcome deficits in almost every game. So proud of them. They will never forget this experience.”
Celebrating Native American Heritage Month
Not every high school student can say they were blessed with an eagle wing before performing a rain dance with a Ute Elder and Spiritual Leader, but a group of Canyons District students will never forget the experience they had doing just that in October.
On a field trip to Nine Mile Canyon in central Utah, students from each of Canyons’ high schools met with the Tribal Elder, then hiked to see the area’s ancient petroglyphs. The key, the Elder told them, is to take a silent moment before snapping a picture to allow each petroglyph to come to life.
The students participated in the field trip in recognition of Native American Heritage month, which is observed in November. The commemorative observation of Native American Heritage month was created in 1990 to honor the “Contributions, achievements, sacrifices, and cultural and historical legacy of the original inhabitants of what is now the United States,” according to the US Department of the Interior’s website.